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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 18 Aug 1999 to 19 Aug 1999

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 18 Aug 1999 to 19 Aug 1999
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There are 5 messages totalling 407 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Iran assembly seen backtracking in holiday dispute
2. US renews demand that Iran release Jewish espionage suspects
4. China recently signed multimillion dollar missile deal with Iran (The
5. Nomination of Ayatollah MM Gilani as the New Chief Justice


Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 21:36:50 -0500
From: aryopirouznia <aryopirouznia@EMAIL.MSN.COM>
Subject: Iran assembly seen backtracking in holiday dispute

Iran assembly seen backtracking in holiday dispute

By Mehrdad Balali
TEHRAN, Aug 19 (Reuters)

Iran's conservative-dominated parliament has backtracked on a decision to
drop a national holiday in the face of an uproar seen as a sign of growing
nationalist fervour in the Islamic republic.

Parliament speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri was quoted by newspapers on
Thursday as saying he would work towards reversing the assembly's unpopular
decision, which also meant that Iranians would have to work on their New
Year's Eve.

Parliament voted on Tuesday to drop March 19, marking Iran's nationalisation
of its oil industry in 1951, as a public holiday to make room for a
religious holiday to mark the birth of Fatima, the Prophet Mohammad's
daughter and a revered Shi'ite Moslem icon.

``The motion was in bad taste. This is a day marking our struggle against
colonialism and oppression. Our friends did not pay attention to this point;
more care should have been exercised,'' said Nateq-Nouri, a leading

The move to drop the holiday, laden with political symbols in a country torn
between secular nationalist feelings and religious identity, caused outrage
across a wide political spectrum that included even some moderate

The cabinet of moderate President Mohammad Khatami on Wednesday pledged to
work towards keeping the holiday.

``This is a shining and glorious day in our history. The government will
prepare a proposal to the parliament to keep March 19 as a national
holiday,'' said a government spokesman.

The day is emblematic of nationalist struggle against Britain, which
controlled Iran's oil industry until 1951 when then Prime Minister Mohammad
Mossadeq nationalised the source of the country's greatest natural wealth.

The move by the popular leader stirred resentment against him in the West
and eventually led to his downfall in a 1953 coup backed by the U.S. Central
Intelligence Agency, which brought the pro-American shah back to power.

Mossadeq has become the symbol of secular nationalist aspirations, which
have been reviving under Khatami after being suppressed under the shah and
the Islamic republic.

Disgraced after the revolution because of his lack of Islamic zeal and open
clashes with senior clerics, Mossadeq has been partly rehabilitated in the
freer atmosphere under Khatami.

Parliament's move was also sensitive because it came on the eve of the
anniversary of the anti-Mossadeq coup on August 19.

Nationalist feelings, in their secular form or interwoven with Islam, are
spreading two decades after the 1979 Islamic revolution which championed the
cause of ``International Islam.''

Mossadeq's portraits are often featured in reformist newspapers, and
democratic nationalist themes dominate slogans at student protests against
the conservative establishment.

``(March 19) is not just a day in the calendar to be easily erased. It is
engraved in the heart of every Iranian,'' said Arya, a moderate newspaper.

Some officials and MPs also spoke out against the move. ``The parliament's
anti-nationalist tendencies are very unpleasant,'' said Sediqeh Vasmaqi, a
reformist member of Tehran city council.

MP Kamal Daneshyar was among hardliners defending parliament's move.
``Mossadeq does not deserve a place in our calendar. He was put there
forcibly,'' he said.

But the hardline voices were in a minority. Nateq-Nouri said parliament
would debate the issue again when it returned from vacation in three weeks.


Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 21:38:03 -0500
From: aryopirouznia <aryopirouznia@EMAIL.MSN.COM>
Subject: US renews demand that Iran release Jewish espionage suspects

US renews demand that Iran release Jewish espionage suspects

WASHINGTON, Aug 19 (AFP) - In the face of Iranian accusations of US
meddling, the State Department on Thursday renewed its demand that Tehran
release immediately 13 Jews detained there on espionage charges.

"We continue to stand by our views that the allegations that these
individuals were involved in espionage are without foundation," spokesman
James Rubin said, referring to a demand he made on Wednesday.

"We call on the government of Iran to uphold its stated commitment to
protect the rights of all religious and ethnic minorities by releasing these
individuals and ensuring that no harm comes to them.

"That remains our view despite the comments from Iran."

His remarks followed Tehran's rejection of the US demand for the release of
the 13 who are reportedly to face trial at which they could be sentenced to
death in the very near future.

Earlier Thursday, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi
cautioned the United States against "interfering in Iran's internal affairs"
and said Rubin's initial comments were "based on pre-conceptions and made
without sufficient information."

"It's as if we had asked the United States to free people in their country
charged with espionage before they had even gone to trial," Asefi said.

"The accused will enjoy the same legal rights as all other people tried in
the Islamic republic. Their religion has nothing to do with the matter," he

Iranian press reports this week said initial investigations had been
completed and that the judiciary would formally file the cases by Thursday,
meaning proceedings could begin soon after a date and venue are set for the

The 13 were arrested in February and March but the arrests were not made
public until June, when the case was reported in the Western media.

Anyone found guilty of spying for Israel or the United States faces the
death penalty and judicial officials said last month the 13 would be tried
in one of Iran's hardline revolutionary courts, responsible for most matters
of national security.

Israel has denied the 13 were spying for the Jewish state and Rubin on
Wednesday repeated US claims they were not spies for the United States.


Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 21:38:57 -0500
From: aryopirouznia <aryopirouznia@EMAIL.MSN.COM>


By Nina Kamran, IPS Diplomatic Correspondent

TEL-AVIV-PARIS 19TH Aug. (IPS) Former Iranian President ayatollah Ali Akbar
Hashemi Rafsanjani has requested some leaders of the influent, but divided,
Iranian Jewish lobby in the United States to help ease pressures from both
Washington and Tel-Aviv over the Islamic Republic in exchange for the
release of some of the 13 Iranian Jews accused by the Iranian authorities of
espionage for Israel and the United States, according to the Israeli
newspaper "Ha'aretz".

In a lengthy report, the usually well informed and serious daily said
Thursday that the proposal was made during a meeting, held on 2nd August in
Belgium, between Mr. Mohsen Hashemi, the elder son of the former President
accompanied by Mr. Sa'adatian, the secretary of Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani's
private office with a delegation of one California-based Iranian Jewish
community led by Mr. Pouya Dayanim.

The astonishing disclosure came amid new row between Tehran and Washington
after the World Jewish Congress (WJC) said on Wednesday that it expects some
of the 13 Jews being held in Iran to be formally charged with spying for
Israel and the United States on Thursday (today).

Iran immediately denied the WJC's report which, apparently, was based on a
short item carried earlier by "Entekhab" (Choice), a new daily that reflects
the views of the so-called independent fraction of the Majles (parliament).

Probably unaware of the Iranian reaction and the origin of the WJC's claim,
the State Department spokesman James Rubin had called on the Iranian
authorities "to uphold its stated commitment to protect the rights of all
religious and ethnic minorities by releasing these individuals and ensuring
that no harm comes to them".

''None of the 13 arrested in March has had access to counsel", Mr. Rubin
further observed, reaffirming that none had been involved in espionage for
the United States.

For its part, Israel said those arrested have never had contact with Israeli
intelligence agencies.

Reacting to Mr. Rubin's remarks, his Iranian counterpart told the United
States to "stop meddling in Iranian internal affairs, making statements
based on prejudices and pre-judgments and inaccurate information and, as a
result, going against international norms and rules".

"It is as though Iran asks the U.S. to release, before trial, all those who
are arrested in the U.S. on espionage charges", Mr. Hamid Reza Asefi was
quoted by the official news agency IRNA.

Stressing on the "total independence" of the Iranian Islam-based justice,
the spokesman said those accused of espionage will get fair justice,
"regardless of their religion".

In a sharp attack, Tehran Radio described Thursday the State Department's
statement as reflecting US "imperialistic attitude", observing that 46 years
after the "shameful American coup, Washington is still continuing with the
same imperialistic and arrogant behaviour, insisting on carrying out the
same sterile but expensive policy towards Islamic Iran".

The commentary was referring to the US-led coup of August 1953 that toppled
the nationalist government of the late Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq and returned
Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to the Iranian throne.

Describing the arrested people as "Zionist spies", the commentary said since
Iran had from the outset informed the international community, including the
UN's General Secretary, of the affair, this (statement by Mr. Rubin) not
only confirms the espionage, but also shows that the US is being played in
the hands of Zionist circles".

Observers noted that apparently the writer of the commentary has forgot that
not only the news of the arrest surfaced more than two months after they had
detained the men, but also it took them several days before admitting it,
first saying they were engaged in fraud and smuggling and ending by accusing
them on military espionage for Israel and the United States.

In fact, it was under mounting pressure from the international community
that the Iranian ruling clerics announced last June that they had arrested
at least 13 Iranian Jews, saying that the men, one of them a 16 years-old
school boy, were spying for Israel and the United States with the complicity
of neighbouring Turkey, a charge immediately and flatly rejected as
"ridicule and baseless" by both Washington and Tel-Aviv.

Arrested in April, the accused are simple people, ranging from teachers in
Hebrew, rabbis, synagogue and cemetery personnel belonging to an orthodox
Jewish current living in the Southern city of Shiraz.

Kept secret because of ongoing negotiations between representatives of the
Iranian Jewish community both inside and outside the country with the
Iranian authorities, the affair surfaced in France after Jewish sources in
Paris expressed serious concern over the situation of the arrested people,
calling on the international community to put pressure on Tehran for their
immediate release.

''These spies, which were identified and arrested, played vital role in the
espionage network and they were arrested on the orders of the court" the
Head of the Fars Province Intelligence Department had told the official news
agency IRNA.

Espionage in Iran is punishable by death. In 1997, Iran hanged two people
convicted of spying for Israel and the United States.

With 20.000 to 30.000 against between 70.000 to 80.000 who were living in
Iran before the victory of the Islamic revolution of 1979, the Iranian
Jewish minority, with a history tracing to more than 4000 years ago, is
still the largest and probably the freest of all the Hebraic communities in
the Middle East.

According to the graphic account of Ha'aretz, Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani's men
had told the Iranian Jewish delegation if they can persuade the Clinton
Administration and the Congress to ease the economic and politic sanctions
imposed on the Islamic Republic, the Iranian government will free some of
the detainees and impose a light sentence on the others.

They have also requested Mr. Dayanim to urge Tel-Aviv to pay back a 650
millions US Dollars Israel owes Iran for oil purchased from Iran before the
Islamic revolution of 1979.

With financial help from the Shah's government, Israel built a pipeline
between Ashdod and Ashkelon to refine oil purchased from Iran.

Jewish sources in France, England and US expressed "fears and concern" that
the Ha'aretz article would adversely affect the trial of the Iranian jews.

Sources told IPS that not only Mr. Dayanim had pledged to do "all the Jewish
communities could do" to put pressure on both the Administration and the
Congress to adopt a less hostile attitude towards Iran, but they will also
work on the Israeli government for the oil payments.

Contacted by telephone late Thursday afternoon by Iran Press service, a
source close to Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani said he ignore all about the Ha'aretz
report, saying, however, that he "strongly doubt" that such a contact had
ever taken place.

"It is true that the Chairman of the Council for Discerning the State's
Interests (meaning Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani) is fully aware of the negative
impact our hostility with America and Israel has over Iran's economy and
that when president and even after, he had tried on occasions to find a
solution, including getting help from the Iranian Jewish community in
America, and every time was blocked by the leader, but to go as far as
establishing such contacts and presenting such demands in this way is
difficult to swallow. Sincerely, I suspect another Zionist plot", this
source said, asking not to be identified.

Amnesty International had named the accused men as following:

Navid Balazadeh, 16; Nejat Beroukhim, 35; Farhad Seleh, 30; Shahrokh
Paknahad, 29; Ramin Farzam, 35; Farzad Kashi, 30; Faramarz Kashi, 34
(brother of above); Aasher Zadmehr (aka Shekasteh Band), 48; Nasser Yaghoub
Levy Haim (Leveeim), 45; Javeed Beit Yaghoub, 40; Ramin Nemati, possibly 22;
Danny Tefileen, 28; Omid Tefileen, possibly 25 (brother of above).



Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 21:40:09 -0500
From: aryopirouznia <aryopirouznia@EMAIL.MSN.COM>
Subject: China recently signed multimillion dollar missile deal with Iran (The

China recently signed multimillion dollar missile deal with Iran (The

WASHINGTON, Aug 19 (AFP) - China recently signed an 11-million dollar deal
to upgrade Iran's anti-ship cruise missiles, according to a published report
The Washington Times quoted Pentagon officials as saying the deal involved
the transfer of technology to improve Iran's short-range FL-10 cruise
missiles so they can be fired from attack helicopters and fast patrol boats.

The officials said the missiles could be used to threaten US or allied
warships in the Gulf and noted that one of them was successfully tested from
a helicopter in March.

Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon declined to comment on what he said were
"intelligence matters," but said such a deal would not have broken Chinese
promises to Defense Secretary William Cohen last year to stop transferring
cruise missiles and technology to Iran.

"What I can tell you is that the agreement between China and the United
States covers longer range, more capable anti-ship cruise missiles, the
(C-)801 and the 802, than the missile that was discussed in this story,
which is the FL-10," he said.

But he added that "if there is this activity going on, it's disturbing." "We
do raise issues such as this with the Chinese and we have talked with them
about sending anti-ship missiles to Iran. But the specific agreement covers
the 801 and 802," he said.

The Times said there was disagreement within the US administration as to
whether the deal violated oral assurances made by Beijing to Washington not
to provide cruise missiles or technology to Tehran.

Pentagon officials thought the FL-10 contract violated the spirit of oral
assurances given to Cohen during a visit to Beijing early last year. "It was
the very clear message that no sales will go forward, no transfers -
period - to Iran," one official reportedly said.

The Times said the contract came to light in intelligence reports forwarded
to top administration officials last month. Asked about the deal report,
Chinese ambassador to the United States Li Zhaoxing replied: "I have never
heard of anything."

"I can tell you with all certainty that China has never done anything
contrary to its international commitments (or) in violation of international
norms," he added.

He noted that many of these "so-called stories are not accurate and some are
entire fabrications."


Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 22:53:03 -0500
From: aryopirouznia <aryopirouznia@EMAIL.MSN.COM>
Subject: Nomination of Ayatollah MM Gilani as the New Chief Justice


Ayatollah M.M. Gilani became famous for having ordered in 1982,
the execution of thousands of opponents INCLUDING His 2 Sons who were
executed on his official rulling...

The News was broadcasted by the Islamic Republic TV and Radio as a
sign of proudness and in order to show the degree of his believe in
the isntitution of the Islamic Republic and its former leader, Rouh Ollah

--------------- See the Below News -------------
--------------- See the Above Note -------------

Chief justice, public prosecutor appointed

tehran, aug. 19, irna -- head of the judiciary ayatollah mohammad hashemi
shahroudi here thursday appointed ayatollah mohammad mohammadi gilani and
ayatollah morteza moqtadaei the chief justice and public prosecutor,

the appointment was made following ayatollah hashemi's meeting with senior
judges of the supreme court and public prosecutor's office and consulting
with them.

ayatollah hashemi shahroudi said according to article 162 of the
constitution, appointment of the chief justice and public prosecutor
depends upon consultations with senior judges of the two legalodies.

he said both ayatollah gilani and ayatollah moqtadaei are veteran judges,
scholars and judicial managers, adding that past records of the two
prominent personalities in academic and judicial fields as well as their
campaigns are known to all.

ayatollah gilani is among the great philosophers of the country who enjoys
popularity in the supreme court, said the judiciary chief, adding that
ayatollah moqtadaei too is a hard working veteran judge who raised the
anti-drug law at the expediency council and received the council's

::irna 19/08/99 14:06


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 18 Aug 1999 to 19 Aug 1999